Reversing Mild Cognitive Impairment in Seniors

Read my article on Miriam: “She reversed her MCI and here’s how she did it”

Last week, I didn’t do a video. I wrote an article instead. About a woman named Miriam who had reversed her MCI.

It’s not what she set out to do. She didn’t even think it was possible.

“When I started on this journey of recovery, my goal was to keep myself from getting worse; that’s all I wanted,” Miriam told me.

“But what happened was, I got better and it reversed, and I wasn’t expecting that. I want people to know that if that happened to me, it could happen to you.”

But it’s not just that Miriam did that. It’s how she did it. And that’s what I want to talk with you about today.

Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.

If you haven’t already read my story about Miriam, I hope you do. It’s full of inspiration and insight for anyone with MCI. It offers real hope.

But I was very careful how I approached this story. Because first of all, I didn’t want anyone to feel I was promising them that they could reverse their cognitive impairment.

It’s not the rarest thing for someone with MCI to return to cognitively normal, but it’s not the most common thing, either.

I often share these statistics, but based on a recent study that followed nearly 900 adults with MCI over a period of four or five years:

The other thing I didn’t want was for people to think that Miriam had somehow stumbled onto some secret formula or magic potion they could use to make their MCI go away.

While Miriam shared in great detail every single step she took, there was nothing magical about it.

She exercised vigorously. She made radical improvements to the way she ate, giving up meat and eventually switching entirely to a plant-based vegan diet. She learned how to cope better with the stress in her life, she got therapy. She threw herself into these health behavior changes and she stuck with them.

Now Miriam was fortunate, because she found some really good doctors along the way, and they gave her really good guidance.

But you know what? There was one thing her doctors didn’t give her. Medicine.

In fact, it was the opposite. Before Miriam ever began having memory problems, she had other health issues. She was taking medication for a thyroid condition, and she also was on an anti-depressant. Her actual diagnosis was MCI due to depression and vascular disease.

But as Miriam began to exercise and clean up her diet, and do these other things, these other health problems began to clear up and she no longer needed medication for them.

She ended up not taking more medication, but less medication. And that reinforced something that I have seen to be true over time. I have noticed that when it comes to MCI, there are two different mind sets.

There are people who want the doctor to give them something they can take to help make them better. And there people who want to do things to help make themselves better.

We know what those things are, and we know they can give people a better chance of slowing, halting or even reversing their MCI.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-medication. There are a whole host of medical conditions that can cause MCI or that can contribute to MCI that are treatable with medication. If your doctor is prescribing medicine to you, take it.

But when it comes to MCI, the reality is that the pharmaceutical options are fairly limited. In terms of medicine, there’s really not that much a doctor can give you for MCI.

On the other hand, in terms of what you can do, there’s a lot you can do. And that’s my message today. I want to encourage you to take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, and make a list. What am I taking? And what am I doing?

What does that list look like for you?

We know what it looked like for Miriam. She wasn’t taking much, and over time, she ended up taking even less. But in terms of what she was doing, it was a list that she kept adding to over time as she continued to make lifestyle improvements.

We know how that worked out for her. Now, again, one can promise you that you can reverse your MCI.

But Miriam is living proof that your “do” list matters, and that if you do the right things, you give yourself a better chance of getting the outcome you’re hoping for.

I thank Miriam for sharing her story, and I truly hope it inspires you. Again, if you haven’t read it, here’s the link.

I hope you find it helpful and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.

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